Wasted

The engine rumbled quietly as Grace jerked her head back, emptying the last drop of beer in her mouth. Flinging the can out of the open window onto the grassy patch just outside the car, she abruptly shoved the gear stick into Reverse while stamping on the accelerator and forcing the vehicle to shoot out with a roar. Red-faced and muttering angrily under her alcohol-laden breath while shifting back into Drive, she stepped on the accelerator and the car lurched forward with squealing tires. Grace raced into the night completely ignoring traffic lights and Stop signs. Thankfully there were no pedestrians in sight due to the late hour and the questionable neighborhood. 


“Fucking bloody Indians!” she spat as she cut through the muggy, summer night, gripping the steering wheel, scowling, flushed and breathing heavily. She bit her lower lip fighting to see through the hot tears that had begun to pool in her already glassy eyes. Her heavy breathing slowly became choppy as she fought to subdue sobs. A little bit of reason, just a little bit, slowly managed to wiggle through her drunkenness, forcing her to slow down and pull up by the side of the street as sobs that began like hiccups that gently shook her body, grew into loud tearful gasps that racked her slight frame. Covering her face, she laid her head on the steering wheel as she cried. There was no traffic and no one in sight. The sound of Grace’s sobbing and the soft rumbling of the battered Chevrolet were totally lost to the night that was fast asleep. Soon, fatigued by her own sorrow, Grace fell into a troubled stupor. 


The sun shone through the windscreen onto Grace, who lay with her head leaning on the headrest, with her mouth slightly open, mercilessly revealing every alcohol and hard experience inspired line on the once pretty face. She stirred at the sound of the insistent and authoritative knock on the glass that demanded attention. Her eyes slowly half opened but the numerous beers that she had consumed the night before kept closing them again. Licking her dry lips, she struggled to open her eyes and focus on the cool, gray eyes that were looking back at her. Her head gently bobbing, she wound the glass down slowly and jerkily. “This is a No Parking zone. You shouldn’t have parked here,” said the officer, whose eyes she was staring into, brusquely. Grace licked her cracked lips again and mumbled something about having been unable to drive the night before. Guessing what had happened, the officer brushed aside her explanation and tersely instructed, “I need you to move your car right now. I am going to let you off with a warning this time.” Again, Grace mumbled some excuse that she was used to using with the police and fumbled around to start her car. Her mouth felt like parchment paper and the heat inside the car was suffocating. She needed a drink. 


Grace drove home slowly as the alcohol had cleared only to give way to a throbbing headache that began to pound away at her head. She made her way home, which was not too far away from where she had parked. Turning into the trailer park, which had been home for almost ten years now, she let her car simply roll all the way to her doorstep. The Chevrolet had almost run out of gas. Neighbors, standing outside their homes chatting or minding their kids, stared as her car slowly rolled past and exchanged knowing looks. They were accustomed to this odd woman and her habit of getting drunk and spending the night somewhere and returning the next morning. They didn’t know her very well because she kept to herself but they were used to her comings and goings. They felt sorry for her daughter, who stayed with her, though. Sometimes they could hear Grace yelling at her. “Fucking Indian bitch! I don’t want any crap from you! You stay with me in my house, you follow my rules! You hear!” Once or twice, neighbors had called the police fearing violence of some sort but since nothing was obvious, and the girl swore that there was nothing to be concerned about, the cops went away after giving Grace a warning.


“Blue! Blue! Where the hell are you?” called out Grace, struggling to get out of the car. She stumbled out of the car while slamming the door shut and stood unsteadily outside her car. “Madison Blue! Where the heck are you?” Grace yelled when she didn’t get a response from inside her home. She stumbled up to the door just as it slowly opened and a girl of about fifteen or sixteen appeared. She was taller and bigger than her mother, with dark hair, very dark hair. She was pretty in a unique, almost exotic way with a wide set face and thick dark eyebrows. The feature that actually took your breath away was her brilliant blue eyes, the kind of blue that had rooted you to the ground when you looked into them. Set against her slightly, dusky, extremely clear complexion, they were almost shocking. They were Grace’s eyes, her only keepsake from her ravaged good looks. 


“What took you so long, girl? You got someone in there? You have a boy in there? Messing around huh, when I am not home?” snapped Grace, her puffy eyes narrowing to slits with suspicion. “You keep those legs of yours together if you wanna live with me. You get knocked up, you know I’ll throw you out.” Blue winced when she heard this. It wasn’t the first time her mother had said this to her. Most of the conversations she had with her mother were filled with jibes and barbs like this. On rare occasions, when her mother was completely sober, they barely spoke. 


Each one went about her life, aware of the other, but trying not to notice. Sometimes, when she got her report card or when the teachers of the Community Day school, that Blue attended, wanted to meet her, Grace would talk to her like a parent. “You need an education, kid. Otherwise, you’re going to end up like me, rotten and drunk. You be smart like your father. Get an education,” she would say. At the mention of the word ‘father’, Blue’s ears would prick up and she would ask, “How can I be like him if I don’t even know who he is? Tell me where he is mom? Where is he?” Blue would plead. “You shut the fuck up, you hear! He was a fucking bastard. He is dead! You hear? He is dead!” Grace would yell like a raging lunatic and that would be the end of the conversation subduing a perplexed and terrified Blue into a brooding silence. 
Madison Blue, otherwise known as Blue by her mother and everyone who knew her, was trying to complete her education in the Community Day School that was just a walk away from where she lived in San Jose, California. Intelligent but not entirely focused, Blue had spent more school days being picked up by cops from malls than in a classroom. Even in class, she spent most of her time doodling or sleeping off her anger at her mother. Once in a while when she felt some energy, she would turn in some work which was usually better than that of her classmates. It was then that the teachers would sit her down and talk to her about how she was wasting her life and that she should focus on utilizing her skills and intelligence, stuff that she had heard but had never really listened to most of her school life. 


The system had helped her bob along in school but her attitude and a fleeting experiment with drugs, pushing drugs on the street, alcohol, and shoplifting for fun had ejected her from the mainstream school system and had landed her in the alternative Community Day School. She liked it in the school because she felt safe. There were other kids just like her, with difficult parents and uncertain home backgrounds. She didn’t feel like there was something wrong with her. What was better was that the teachers were nice, most of the time at least, and didn’t judge her or see her as a disruption. “Hell! We are all disruptions. Who’re they going to throw out of class?” she would giggle with her classmates. Life was so peaceful for Blue in the school that she sometimes wished there was school even during the weekends. It was better than going home to her mother, who yelled at her the minute she saw her just because she was who she was, Madison Blue daughter of some unknown Indian man, or at least that was the accusation her mother flung at her at every opportunity. “I don’t know who the fuck he is but I hate him,” Blue would spit to her friends.


She would look at herself often in the mirror and hate the dusky complexion, the dark hair and eyebrows, all of which she assumed she had inherited from her Indian father. One time she tried to bleach her dark hair and it went terribly wrong because she couldn’t buy enough of the stuff with the money she had with her. She went to school scowling because her mother had called her a freak and promptly got into a fight with one of her classmates who had giggled when she saw her. She got suspended for two days. She hated the suspension, only because it meant she would lose the seven hours that she was away from home and her mother. Life for Blue was one large, dark hallway. She groped along, stumbled and often fell, picked herself up and moved along, uncertain of where she was heading, screaming in her heart for someone, just anyone to hold her hand. “Someone, please help me,” was her silent cry, every night before she fell asleep.

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